KUMARÉ, the man and the movie, question the relevancy and reality of any kind of SL, but in taking its philosophy to a sensible conclusion, it actually questions the reality and relevancy of any kind of organized religion. We all, Kumaré tells his flock, have the ability within us to understand ourselves and our needs and to make correct decisions regarding our lives and our place in the world. Well, this is a shockeroo. What's more, Kumaré gets his group to pretty much manage this on their own. We're talking something revolutionary here -- thinking for oneself -- if only we hoi polloi could rise to the occasion.
Purva Bedi, shown above, and Kristen Galgaro, shown below) -- and, yes, the disciples that he seduces -- bring to the movie. Together, they wrap us up so strong-ly in the situation that we end up identifying with and caring about everyone involved. We laugh at them, sure, but not in any nasty way. What's going on is simply so funny and unusual and finally surprising that we're hooked for good within a very few minutes.
Kino Lorber were hoping would enjoy the film and recommend it to their friends. They certainly managed the first directive; I have not heard this much laughter in a theater in a long time. And these are not the kind of snarky, nasty laughs that come from a Sacha Baron Cohen endeavor. As funny as the situation and characters are, you actually grow to care about Kumaré's disciples, as much, it seems, as the guru himself eventually does.
Brendan Colthurst, shown below), to do a Q&A with us in the audience. The filmmaker proved as special as we might have expected, given what we'd just witnessed in the theater: demure, easy-going, sporting no attitude but willing to answer every question directly and with no apparent agenda other than to explain. Granted, one should never be so naive as to take anything or anyone at face value. But with Vikram it was pretty difficult not to, as he answered question after question about the film's history and beginnings, told us about himself and his family, how his "disciples" reacted to the cameras being present, any lawsuits resulting from the movie (none yet), and how he came up with his very special (non-regional) East Indian accent, which he then launched into it on the spot.
IFC Center, where you can see director Vikram Gandhi in person both Wednesday, June 20, & Thursday, June 21, at the 6:20 & 8:25pm shows. The movie -- 83 minutes, from Kino Lorber -- will also be playing around the country in California, Colorado and Washington State. Click here to see all currently schedule playdates, with cities and theaters.